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Securities and Exchange Commission

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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:07pm
Thu Jul 7, 2016

Chicago Activists, Lawmakers Deliver Petitions To SEC For Action On 'Toxic' Interest Rate Swaps (VIDEO)

Chicago community activists and local elected officials delivered 88,000 petition signatures to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) regional office Thursday morning, urging the agency to investigate complex financial agreements called interest rate swaps.

Those who delivered the petition signatures, collected online by the Grassroots Collaborative and several other organizations, say cash-strapped local and state governments are being squeezed by the "toxic swaps" they entered into with banks before the Great Recession. The complicated deals, which come with hefty penalties and termination fees, were intended to save taxpayer-backed organizations money, but they backfired when the economy crashed.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:25pm
Tue Jan 19, 2016

Report: Illinois Interest Rate Swap Deals Squeezing State Budget

Progress Illinois details the findings of a new report from the ReFund America Project about the financial costs associated with the state's interest rate swap agreements. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:41pm
Tue Jan 12, 2016

Chicago Progressive Aldermen: Put The Brakes On Swap Termination Payment Plan

Chicago's Progressive Reform Caucus wants the Emanuel administration to "delay or abandon" its proposal to use roughly $100 million in borrowed money to pay termination penalties for interest-rate swap agreements.

The caucus opposes the "Emanuel administration's plan to voluntarily pay massive interest-rate swap termination penalties" because it could result in "windfall profits for big banks" and cost "taxpayers more over the next few decades," Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) said during a press conference at City Hall on Tuesday. 

The interest-rate swap agreements in question, held between the city and financial institutions, date back to former Mayor Richard M. Daley's administration. The $100 million in swap termination payments is part of a $2 billion borrowing package set to go before the Chicago City Council on Wednesday. 

"The administration has said we're getting out of these risky deals, but what we're getting out of this deal is an irresponsible financial move by the administration," Waguespack said. "We need to stop this plan, abandon it today, and not move forward on behalf of taxpayers."

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
6:48pm
Tue Mar 24, 2015

Activists Rally Support For 'A Financial Plan That Puts Chicago’s Communities First'

Community activists say they have an alternative plan for making Chicago fiscally solvent -- and it doesn't rely on cuts that disproportionately affect low- and middle-income people. 

A new report, "Our Kind of Town: A Financial Plan that Puts Chicago's Communities First," targets "predatory financial deals" that cost the city millions of dollars. The paper, crafted by the Refund America Project at the Roosevelt Institute, also suggests a series of progressive taxes could put millions back into the city's coffers.

"What we have is a priorities crisis," said Amisha Patel, executive director of the Grassroots Collaborative at press conference outside the offices of Loop Capital Management. "For decades, budgets in Chicago have been balanced on the backs of working families. In fact, there are a clear set of policy solutions to raise a progressive revenue that our neighborhoods need."

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
12:28pm
Wed Jul 16, 2014

Consumer & Immigrant Rights Advocates Submit New Complaints Against Herbalife (VIDEO)

Days before the kick off of the annual Herbalife Extravaganza in Chicago, two former independent distributors from the Chicago area filed new complaints with the Illinois Attorney General’s office, claiming the nutritional products company operates a pyramid scheme that exploits Latino immigrants.

“Herbalife is in Chicago this week for a major conference, where they celebrate what they call their success and what we call a detriment to the Latino economy here in Illinois,” said Omar Duque, CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Duque joined about half-a-dozen other consumer and civil rights advocates on Tuesday to submit the complaints on behalf of the former independent distributors to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office at the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St. in Chicago.

The total number of Herbalife complaints submitted to the attorney general’s office reached 20 on Tuesday, according to the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the group spearheading the campaign.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:22pm
Wed Feb 19, 2014

New Report Sheds Light On America's Top Paid 'Government Workers'

Contrary to what some may believe, America's top paid government workers are not public employees, argues a new report from the progressive watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).

"America's highest paid government workers are not your local teachers, social workers or corrections officers," said CMD's Executive Director Lisa Graves. "Rather, America's highest paid government workers are the corporate executives who profit from reckless privatization deals across the country."

In the “Exposed: America’s Highest Paid Government Workers” report, CMD identifies six CEOs who "worked hard to privatize public services and who use taxpayer dollars to enrich themselves with outlandish salaries and benefits."

After reviewing shareholder lawsuits, criminal investigations, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sanctions and court settlements, CMD found that the six CEOs highlighted in the report collectively raked in more than $100 million in compensation largely funded by taxpayers over the past several years. 

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